Sunday, January 11, 2015

Memories of Backwoods

This is one of the Backwoods Christmas parties.  The only Backwoods picture I have at this time.

 Back row: Einar Erikson, Harold Zuehlke, Ransom Tyler (my Dad), Ned Elton  Sitting:Rick Zuehlke, Pug (my Mom), Tom Erikson, Tip (my brother) in front, Henrietta Erikson, Janet Erikson(in front), KD Elton, Me in the grey sweater, Lynn (my sister), Eddie Elton.  Sitting in front on the right: Sue Zuehlke, Phoebe Zuehlke and I think Ned's Grandmother sitting in the chair.

Now I am going way back to reminisce about the great times we had in our neighborhood which we called Backwoods.  These memories were brought on because I just received word that the eldest of the Backwoods kids, Rick, has just passed away.  There were 8 of us and Rick Zuehlke lived next door and was probably 5 or 6 years older than I was.  The rest of the kids in backwoods were:  Janet and Tom Erikson, Sue Zuehlke (my best friend and confidant of our childhood.  She is a year older than I.), Lynn (my sister), Tip (my brother), and Ned Elton (Closest in age to me and my "boyfriend" through our childhood).

  We were a close knit group of kids because we lived sort of "out in the country".  We all went to the same elementary school (fondly called Jefferson Jailhouse) and were more like sisters and brothers than friends.  All of our parents went together and bought a piece of property from a farmer and built 5 houses in the farmer's backwoods during the depression!  It was so unusual that The Milwaukee Journal did a piece on the construction, complete with pictures, back when they were building the houses in the early 1930's. This was before I was born, of course.  The property was located about  a quarter of a mile from the Milwaukee/Waukesha county line.  Jefferson School was 1.2 miles from our houses and we walked and then later rode our bikes to get there and back home. It had started out as a 2 room school (I'm pretty sure Rick and Janet were in school at that time), but each room was then divided into 2 rooms and by the time I went there, there were 2 classes in each room.  There was no kindergarten so none of us except my brother (the youngest of the Backwoods kids) even went to kindergarten.

The backwoods was a pretty big piece of property of many acres and we had woods and ravines to play in.  Each family had a large vegetable garden (WWII was in full swing in my very early days and they were called Victory Gardens) and the Eltons  (who lived next to us on the other side) had grape vines and a raspberry patch down over the hill in back of their house. (the scene of one of our major adventures).   They had a chicken coop too.  Dad had an asparagus patch down there and there were currant bushes that Mom had us pick from to make currant jelly.  We had a chicken coop, apple trees, and a place for a milk cow (Daisy) too.  Dad had a compost hole that he made fertilizer in and he also tapped all our maple trees and Mom made maple syrup from the sap.  It was our job to collect the sap each day in the spring.

Some of my other memories of those early times were of Dad picking honeysuckle blossoms and Mom making honeysuckle fritters with them.  I never have tried it myself but I do remember how we loved those fritters! Dad also had crabapple trees and at least one plum tree.  I remember that Dad would get up early and go out and pick flowers for Lynn and I to put in our hair on Sundays and he always had fresh flowers for the house all summer long.

 Every week or so all summer the families of the neighborhood would take turns hosting a potluck Backwoods picnic. These were not quite the backyard barbeques we all think of now.  None of our properties were fenced so we had all 5 yards to play in.  The picnic sights were not too near the houses and we did not have barbeque grills. Our moms cooked over the open fire or made most of the food at the house and then brought it to the picnic sight. The grownups would sit around the fire visiting long after dark and all the kids would play 50 all scatter, Sardines, and other games using the whole neighborhood as our playground.  There were no city streets, only our private dirt road that the 5 houses used to access West Howard Avenue.

The other Backwoods event was an annual Christmas party.  It was hosted each year by a different family.  It was a potluck and I think our moms organized it so whoever hosted it had the main dish and the family that had it the last year brought the dessert and so on.  All the kids drew names for giving presents and I think there were family gifts given by each family to each family.  We had a big feast and then the whole group would play Charades (when we got old enough).  Oh how we loved playing that game!  I guess the youngest kids had to go to bed so it was a right of passage when you got to play Charades with the grownups!

There were other Backwoods gatherings but those were parts of our adventures to be remembered another day!

So long, Rick, I never forgot you calling me Vanilla Pecan instead of Penelope Ann, the time you tried to get Sue and I to pose sitting under the hose you hooked up to the clothesline pole so it dripped cold water on us in 99 degree and 95% humidity weather so you could take a picture to enter in a photo contest, and your early Disney movies shown on a sheet that you charged us a few pennies to watch after dark night after night. I will always picture you working on that Model T station wagon in your driveway. 



Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome 2015! I'm back.....

The fireplace in Danny and Kathi's new home out at Eagle's Watch in Walden, Colorado.
Kathi had great decorations up for Christmas.
Kathi and Danny at the big New Years Party they held at the bowling alley
Here it is 2015!  I certainly took a big break from my blog (like 6 months) but I am still around. A lot has been gong on in my life and with the new year here it is time to look back at some of the adventures that I have had since June. I am sitting in Danny and Kathi's new house in Walden, CO on New Years Day after helping them throw a very successful party last night at the bowling alley and restaurant they are purchasing. It was a lot of work but went well. They had to go back in this morning to finish cleaning up. I wasn't ready to go when they were so I was going to drive over later. It has been extremely cold (-31F) the last few days and my car wouldn't start. So today it finally warmed up into the teens. I went out to start it but it was totally dead!  What a way to start the new year!  Meanwhile Danny and Kathi still haven't made it back to the house so I am watching the Rose Bowl and wondering what they are doing. I feel kind of guilty not helping them but not guilty enough to walk to town.
Paul, Thomas, Carla and Jim took a selfie during the Broncos game!
Me, Jo, Diana and Jason ringing in the New Year
Someone photo-bombed me, Glen!

I was going to post some pictures taken during the party and of Danny and Kathi's new house all decorated for Christmas but I hit a wrong button while transferring my iphone pictures to my computer and ended up sending all my pictures since October to computer heaven!  Maybe even since July 4!  What a bummer! I am going to see if I can get some off of Facebook and messages I sent to family with a picture included!  How I wish my computer savvy grandsons were around!

As you can see I figured out how to get some pictures off of Facebook of the party and I took some more pictures of Kathi's house decorations so all is not lost.  On the Friday after New Years, Janet and Greg Ray invited me to have dinner and go bowling with some of their family and friends!  These are pictures from that party.

This is Heather Ray Kirby trying to pick up a spare.
Besties Janet Ray and Bobbie Corkle had a nice visit along with the bowling.     

Heather, Doug, and Tanner with their cheesy smiles.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Carla's Memorial Slideshow to Her Dad and Kathi's Tribute to her Father-In-Law

Bob's CCA president picture

On this final day of posting parts of our memorial service I want to post the link to Kathi's tribute to Bob.  She has written a poem which I think is beautiful.

Kathi is giving Bob his last haircut.  Danny and I tried but she had to step in and do the job right!

Carla with her Papa

Carla made a Smilebox slide show for the service.  This is it.  I think you can see the pictures a lot better this way.  Enjoy. 
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Now Darcy wants me to make Bob's Facebook page a memorial.  I guess I will check it out on Google and try it.

Darcy helping Grampa spray the thistles.

Darcy is the last of our grandchildren to graduate from High School.  I am in Washington to see him get his diploma this week.  Here he is with his Grampa his sophomore year.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Erin and JJ Remember

Grampa and Erin sharing the love!

The post for  today is the second in my eulogy series.  Erin presented this tribute to her Grampa at the memorial service.  Those of you who could not be there will be able to read it.  She wrote the poem when she was in high school for both of her Grampas and then modified for each one at their memorial services. I think she did a great job!

Erin with Grampa and Meemo

His Hands Remember
By Erin Buckingham

Hands thin, old skin stretched tight over knobby fingers,
Both hands gnarled and achy from years of hard work and arthritis.

One crooked fingered hand grabs a bag of popcorn and sticks it in the microwave.
It pokes the buttons with its slender fingers.
The other shaky hand stays at his side.

These hands had seen better days, when they held the reins of the wild horses, Clutching the saddle horn as the horses would buck,
Holding on till the horse was tame. 
Being there at the ranch was like being set free in the sky,
To roam and wander all you wanted.
Now the hands were too tired for such adventures
And had to be stuck inside this old country house.

I asked Grandpa if he’d ride horses today if I lent him my hands.
I asked if he would show me how to ride.

“Come here,” he said, “and let me see your hands.”
He stared at them with longing in his eyes;
A hint of a smile spread appreciatively across his face. 
Softly he replied, “Lend them to me, babe, and we’ll make popcorn together.”

Erin and her husband Brent

Erin’s Eulogy for Grandpa Manville

Grandpa loved everyone unconditionally.  He let us in, all of us, and even if you aren’t an immediate member of the family, Grandpa always treated you as if you were.  I know for a fact that he loved me, there’s no doubt in my mind.  I know that he loved you all, too.
               Love isn’t always expressed in the simple words, “I love you.”  These are powerful words, but Grandpa put action behind them.
               The Bible gives the perfect definition of what love is and what it isn’t.  The Bible says that a person’s life amounts to nothing without love.  Well, knowing this I can confidently say, Grandpa Manville led a full life.  Here’s what the Bible says about Love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13
The Message (MSG)
3-8 “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.”

Love never dies!  The love Grandpa had for his family, both blood related and “adopted” will live on.  He taught us how to love and we will carry his legacy on to others.  The next verses in this passage of the Bible go on to say,

“12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

We’ve been taught by one of the best how to love extravagantly, and now it is our turn to trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and best of all love extravagantly.

 By Erin Jones Buckingham, May 27, 2014

JJ and Erin at the Cabin

                Jeanette’s Eulogy for Dad
               I have a few words to say about my dad, but I am allergic to microphones.  They make me cry!  Thank you Erin for reading this for me.
               My memories of dad are many.  I only wanted to share 3 memories with you.  I loved spending time playing Rummy with Dad.  We would play on Dad’s bed and watch Barnaby Jones on TV.  We played Dad’s rules apparently, because when I played with mom, she told me, “Those were not the rules.”  She said Dad makes up the rules.
               Another memory of Dad was when he and I went haying together.  We would drive to the Buffalo Ranch and take a detour for breakfast Ding Dongs and chocolate milk.  It had to be healthy because I was pregnant with Micah!  We would eat our breakfast and then set to work on greasing the baler.  I would crawl in the knotter and Dad would do the rest.  We baled hay all day and then went home to do it all again the next day.
               The last memory I will share is the time we went to Sturgis on our motorcycles and Mom and Dad snuck to Nevada and stayed at our house waiting for us to come back so they could surprise us.  Dad was so proud of himself!  That is just how Dad was.  He was all about his family.  He loved us all dearly, and the love he and Mom showed us taught us how to love others.  I know that the reason it hurts so bad to lose Dad is because we loved so hard, and when you love that much, it hurts that much to say goodbye.
               I got to tell him goodbye the last time I saw him.  I told him I loved him and thanked him for loving me.  I let him know that it was an honor to be his daughter.  God gave us such a wonderful gift when he gave us Robert and Penny Manville.  I truly am blessed and loved.
               Goodbye Papa.  I love you! 

By Jeanette Manville Jones, May 27, 2014

 I just had to put up these two pictures of Erin and Paul.  Erin is the only girl out of 10 cousins! There are only 10 days between Erin and Paul and he has always "taken care of " his only girl cousin.  Well.....sort of anyway.  He included her in all their night games and once rescued her from the "ballroom" at McDonald's when they were about 3 or 4 years old.

Erin and Paul (yesterday's eulogy).  They have always been close cousins!

Erin and Paul hiking up to Aqua Fria a few years ago.